CROWN POINT — The former superintendent of Gary Community Schools Corp. is out on bail amidst allegations she double-billed the cash-strapped district for a luxury junket in California. 

Gary police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said Cheryl Pruitt was arrested Friday on charges of theft and official misconduct, level 6 felonies. She was booked into Lake County Jail and posted bond that same day, the commander said.

Pruitt, 55, was held on a $20,000 surety bond, court records state. An initial court hearing has not been scheduled. Records do not indicate if Pruitt has retained legal representation.

Pruitt is accused of double billing the school district for a three-day education conference she attended May 3, 2016, through May 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, records state.

Pruitt allegedly charged $1,504 to a district credit card for a three-night hotel stay, dry cleaning fees, two spa/massage appointments, two meals, a taxi ride and miscellaneous taxes, records state.

The district's finance department paid the credit card using money from the district's extra-curricular account.

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Pruitt also allegedly submitted a voucher for personal reimbursement for $1,256 in expenses from the same trip, which she deposited into her own bank account.

Pruitt said under questioning by the FBI she generally charged everything, excluding hotel and flight expenses, to her personal credit card, and then submitted receipts to her secretary for reimbursement.

She admitted the school paid twice for the Los Angeles trip, but it was not done “intentionally or maliciously,” records state.

Pruitt served as superintendent from July 1, 2012, until her resignation in February, more than a year before her contract was scheduled to end.

The Gary Community School Corp. is under control by the Indiana Distressed Unit Appeals Board due to the district's significant debts and poor academic results.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.