November 10, 2018

IPS Teachers Union President Resigns, Accused Of Misappropriating $100K

Rhondalyn Cornett, former president of the Indianapolis Education Association - YouTube

Rhondalyn Cornett, former president of the Indianapolis Education Association


The Indiana State Teachers Association announced this morning that the head of the teacher union representing Indianapolis Public Schools resigned and is at the center of its investigation into financial mismanagement and misappropriation of more than $100,000.

Rhondalyn Cornett, president of the Indiana Education Association, or IEA, resigned after audits of the organization were completed this week, according to a statement by ISTA.

ISTA received a complaint in June about the Cornett’s management of IEA. Then, according to ISTA, an investigation into IEA’s operations was opened and including a complete review of election procedures and a comprehensive financial audit was undertaken. The review was completed Nov. 8 and found approximately $100,000 in ATM cash withdrawals over a period of years.

“Because of the IEA (President Cornett’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,” a statement from ISTA read. “New local leadership has assumed control and are prepared to deal with the issue and move the association forward in a positive direction.”

Cornett declined to comment on the allegations when reached by WFYI News this afternoon.

An IPS spokesperson said they are not expecting to make a comment today.

The IEA is the collective bargaining unit for Indianapolis Public Schools teachers. It is responsible for negotiating the salary and hours for teachers in their annual or bi-annual contract. 

The information was reported to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Organized Crime Section, according to ISTA.

“ISTA does not know if any crimes were committed as that is for the police to determine, but we believe the reporting was warranted,” ISTA said in a statement.

The allegations come in the wake of celebrations and upheavals at IPS. This week the community overwhelmingly supported $272 million of property-tax referenda in the midterm election, including $220 million to fund teacher pay increases.

Voters also cast out two incumbent school board commissioners and replaced them with critics of the district administration.

Ronald Swann, the recently elected IEA vice president, has assumed the role of IEA president per IEA Bylaws. Swann helped lead the audit with ISTA leadership.

This story will be updated.

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