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IPS teachers union president resigns after being accused of mishandling thousands in funds

Posted: 12:38 PM, Nov 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-10 17:38:55Z

INDIANAPOLIS -- The president of Indianapolis Public School's teacher's union has resigned after over accusations that she mishandled and misused thousands of dollars in funds over the past several years. 

The Indiana State Teachers Association says their investigation and review began after a member filed a complaint back in June. That investigation included a review of the election procedures and a comprehensive financial audit. 

The audits were completed November 8 and found "serious financial mismanagement and misappropriation" of more than $100,000 in funds, including members dues, by IEA President Rhondalyn Cornett over the past several years. 

Cornett resigned after a demand from union leaders and new leadership has assumed control for the time being. 

The Indiana State Teacher's Association has also reported Cornett's actions to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, although it is unclear at this time if a crime was committed. 

The group has also filed an insurance claim and is considering legal action. 

IEA Vice President Ronald Swann will stand as acting president of the IEA until new leadership is elected. 

You can read the full statement from the Indiana State Teachers Association below.

For decades, the Indianapolis Education Association (IEA) has strongly advocated for its members and their students’ best interests in the face of significant challenges. The Indianapolis Public School district has been a hotbed of privatization reform that’s often led to instability in the classroom both for educators and the students they serve. However, today, IEA faces an internal challenge.

In June of 2018, an IEA member filed a complaint with the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) regarding concerns over IEA’s operations. ISTA immediately opened an investigation into IEA’s operations including a complete review of its election procedures and a comprehensive financial audit, which was completed Nov. 8.

The audit indicates serious financial mismanagement and misappropriation of more than $100,000 in funds over a period of several years by IEA President Rhondalyn Cornett. Local association finances are handled by duly elected local leaders who are responsible for properly managing their finances. Because of the IEA president’s failure to meet her obligations toward sound financial management of members’ dues dollars, she has complied with a demand that she resign effective Nov. 8. New local leadership has assumed control and are prepared to deal with the issue and move the Association forward in a positive direction. 

In an effort to maintain transparency and exercise due diligence, ISTA has reported her actions to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Organized Crime Section. ISTA does not know if any crimes were committed as that is for the police to determine, but we believe the reporting was warranted. 

To ensure the efficient and effective management of IEA moving forward, ISTA has assumed control of the local’s financial operations effective immediately and for the next two years. ISTA has also filed an insurance claim to potentially recoup members’ dues dollars and may also consider legal action.

Newly elected IEA Vice President, Ronald Swann, has assumed the role of IEA president per IEA Bylaws. Swann helped lead the joint internal investigation and audit and is committed to working with ISTA leadership and IEA members to rebuild a member-driven local organization that Indianapolis educators deserve. 

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