GARY — The president of the Gary School Board presented documentation Wednesday night in support of the Gary schools superintendent's $30,000 bonus paid last year, and said it was legally approved by the board.

A special audit released by the Indiana State Board of Accounts a couple of weeks ago said superintendent Cheryl Pruitt needs to repay a $30,000 bonus she received. The audit findings were referred to the Lake County Prosecutor and the Indiana Attorney General's Office.

The audit report said Pruitt's contract provided for "Growth Incentive Plan and Bonus to be agreed upon by the board and the superintendent." But the audit states no documentation was provided showing that the board agreed on or approved the amounts or the timing of the payments.

Pruitt, who has tendered her resignation effective Feb. 2, hired Merrillville attorney Russell Brown to represent her.

Gary School Board president Rosie Washington, who has resigned effective Dec. 31, said the board presented numerous documents to auditors to support Pruitt's raise and that it was done according to the law. She said the   amount was submitted to former state-appointed financial advisor Jack Martin and approved by the Distressed Unit Appeals Board which oversees the district.

"There is a video of this meeting April 12 and audio was done," Washington said. "With all of this, maybe we can finally put this to rest."

None of the members of DUAB could be reached for comment.


Education reporter

Carmen is an award-winning journalist who has worked at The Times newspaper for 20 years. Before that she also had stints at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., The Post-Tribune and The News Dispatch in Michigan City.