Cheryl Lynn Pruitt

Cheryl Lynn Pruitt 

CROWN POINT — Despite an initial request Wednesday by the defense for a trial date, a judge scheduled a June status hearing for a former Gary school superintendent charged with stealing from the cash-strapped district.

Cheryl Pruitt, 56, appeared with attorney Scott King for a brief hearing before Lake Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell.

King initially asked Boswell to schedule a two- to three-day trial.

Boswell asked King and Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Judith Massa to approach the bench. After a private discussion, the attorneys agreed to a status hearing June 11.

Pruitt was charged Oct. 5 in Lake Criminal Court with felony counts of theft and official misconduct, which allege she deposited a $1,256 reimbursement from the district into her personal bank account after the district already had paid $1,617 from its extracurricular account to a district credit card to pay for her business trip in May 2016.

The state took over the Gary Community School Corp. in 2017, delegating all authority of the School Board and superintendent to an emergency manager who could cut costs and pay off more than $100 million in debt.

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In mid-October 2018, the State Board of Accounts released results of a special investigation audit and asked Pruitt to repay nearly $7,200 to the school district for inappropriate spending of taxpayer dollars.

The Indiana attorney general's office filed a civil lawsuit against Pruitt on Nov. 28.

In that lawsuit, the state is seeking more than $18,000 in penalties and funds Pruitt is accused of wrongfully receiving or diverting from the district.

Lake Superior Court Judge William Davis stayed any discovery against Pruitt in the civil lawsuit until June 26. That case is set for a Feb. 1, 2021, jury trial.

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