CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools officials are recommending the closure of a virtual charter school formerly run by ex-Gary schools superintendent Cheryl Pruitt.
CPS announced its recommendation to close Chicago Virtual Charter School, along with the district's Frazier Preparatory Academy Charter School, in a news release Monday, detailing academic scores and graduation rates at the virtual school among the lowest in the city.
Chicago Virtual Charter School is a K-12 charter school in Chicago's West Loop providing blended online and in-person instruction. Pruitt served as the school's chief executive officer for about a year before being placed on paid administrative leave in June pending an internal investigation launched by the CVCS Board of Directors.
The CVCS board and school officials did not return requests for comment. CPS did not comment on the status of the school's investigation into its former CEO.
CPS is recommending the virtual school's closure following poor academic performance and concerns of school finance and management, which are currently being investigated by the CPS Office of the Inspector General.
CVCS students earned one of the lowest graduation rates and the lowest rate of freshman students on track to graduate in the district, according the the CPS news release. The CVCS high school earned the lowest of CPS's annual school performance indicator scores, called SQRP, of any Chicago charter school. CVCS's elementary grades earned the second lowest SQRP score among Chicago charters.
"As part of our commitment to ensure that students have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for success, we have established clear accountability metrics, standards and expectation that must be met in order to operate in the district," CPS CEO Janice Jackson said in the release. "Based on our comprehensive review of charter school performance, our recommendation to close two charter schools is necessary to ensure students have access to the high-quality education they deserve."
The recommendations come following an extensive review under the district's Charter School Quality Policy, according to the CPS statement. The Chicago Board of Education will meet Wednesday to consider recommendations to revoke the school's charter.
If approved, CPS plans to provide transitional support to CVCS students to help them identify a higher performing school that meets students needs, according to the district statement. School officials will specifically identify flexible options for CVCS families who may seek education opportunities outside of the traditional classroom environment.
Pruitt faces felony theft and official misconduct charges in Lake County for suspected theft from the cash-strapped Gary Community School Corp. as it neared state takeover. A bench trial to hear Pruitt's case is scheduled to begin Jan. 13.