New York

Inspector General Report Finds Gift Card Abuse, Policy Violations at CPS

From thousands of dollars in fraud to policy violations, a scathing new report from the inspector general for the Chicago Board of Education claims to have found numerous issues at Chicago Public Schools. 

In its annual report for the Chicago Board of Education, the inspector general's office details cases of improper gift card use at multiple schools, residency violations by high-level central office employees and improper activities involving a school racehorse-breeding program, among other things. 

The independent agency found that over a four-year period, CPS schools, network offices and central office departments spent more than $250,000 in gift cards. In one case, the report states employees used gift cards for car detailing, a steakhouse dinner and to make layaway payments at K-Mart. In another, a principal allegedly stole at least $500 in donated gift cards that were intended for students. 

Those employees were terminated or resigned, according to the report. 

Another teacher who allegedly used nine sick days to vacation in Europe, New York and to take a cruise has been suspended without pay, the report states. 

In a statement, CPS said it appreciates the report "identifying employees who have not upheld the values of our district, particularly when their actions deprive students of resources or access to a full education."

The district also says it has taken steps to prevent the misuse of gift cards in the last year. 

"During the past year, CPS has worked to address the incidents outlined in the report, and we are reviewing the Inspector General's recommendations to determine whether they will strengthen district operations and prevent misconduct," the statement read. 

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