CHICAGO (CBS) — The hammer is expected to come down hard on embattled Chicago Virtual Charter School on Wednesday. Parents are bracing for a Chicago Board of Education vote to shut the school down, but are hoping a petition will convince the school board to keep it open.
The Morning Insiders have been reporting on mismanagement at Chicago Virtual Charter School for months.
CBS 2’s investigation into CVCS began in February. Worried mothers hoped we could pick apart problems they noticed; like late delivery of textbooks, and several staff resignations.
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.
CVCS already was on the Chicago Public Schools’ charter school warning list at the time. The school also was on academic probation.
Pruitt was placed on administrative leave after our story.
Meanwhile, several parents said Angela Richardson-Bryant, CVCS’ director of strategy, has been MIA. We discovered the school reimbursed her thousands of dollars to fly between Chicago and her home in Atlanta.
Those flights were first paid for when Richardson-Bryant was the school’s board president, a volunteer position. CVCS then promoted her to director of strategy, knowing she lived out of state. Her travel costs were accompanied by a $135,000 salary.
The district apparently decided CVCS is not worth saving. This week the Chicago Public Schools recommended the charter school be closed at the end of the school year. The school board is expected to vote on that recommendation on Wednesday.
According to CPS, Chicago Virtual Charter School had the lowest school quality rating policy (SQRP) score of any charter high school, the lowest freshman on-track rate, and one of the lowest graduation rates in the district.
Parents remain hopeful. More than 1,500 people have signed a Change.org petition to keep CVCS open.
That’s a steep uphill battle. Only 11 charter schools in Illinois have ever successfully overturned their shutdowns, and the usual mechanism to appeal charter revocations is no longer an option.
Lawmakers voted to eliminate the Illinois State Charter School Commission this spring. Opponents of the commission didn’t like that local school district decisions could be overturned by people with no stake in the community.
Now, the Illinois State Board of Education is in charge, and rules are being changed.
Meantime, CPS Inspector General Nick Schuler confirmed he’s still investigating the actions of certain people at CVCS, a probe that began months after CBS 2 began sniffing around.
CVCS did not respond to questions asking if they plan to fight to keep the school open by filing an appeal with the Illinois State Board of Education.
Students will learn the Chicago Board of Education’s decision on the plan to close CVCS at the school board meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Curie High School.