Tag Archives: Education in the United States

Secretary of State Announces Details of Settlement w/ Teachers Union

3 Dec

INDIANAPOLIS (December 3, 2013) — Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced today that her office has finalized a settlement of a federal securities fraud lawsuit for $14 million with the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) and the National Education Association (NEA).  The litigation accused ISTA and NEA of defrauding Hoosier schools out of over $27 million. ISTA and the NEA sold health plans with benefits, which were unregistered securities, to 27 school corporations. ISTA and the NEA then used the money from the health plans for their own benefit to cover funding shortfalls and for risky investments, instead of investing on the schools’ behalf as promised. The $14 million settlement will go to the school corporations to compensate for their lost investments.

“In the next ten days, school corporations will see a recovery four years in the making. Teachers and administrators alike can finally put this lawsuit behind them,” said Secretary Lawson. “They will receive 50 cents on the dollar for the money ISTA and NEA misappropriated. We strongly believe our case supported full repayment by ISTA and NEA, but we knew they were willing to spare no expense on endless litigation. This settlement gets these school corporations a much needed, immediate financial boost.”

 

ISTA offered teachers and other school employees a medical plan that allowed school corporations to invest their excess claim balances to offset future health care costs. The Secretary of State’s complaint alleges that ISTA did not invest the money as promised, but instead used the money to cover significant shortfalls in their long-term disability plan and to invest for ISTA’s own benefit. ISTA continuously issued phony financial statements to schools misrepresenting investment fund balances.

“ISTA took money from one fund to pay claims and cover deficiencies of another, then issued falsified statements to clients to create the illusion of funds,” alleged Secretary Lawson. “This is a classic example of a Ponzi scheme.

“ISTA and the NEA have repeatedly tried to play the victim and have made multiple attempts to dismiss the case. The truth is they intentionally misled those they claim to support and protect to cover their own shortfalls and to invest in risky securities for their own benefit. They have a moral obligation to repay the full amount.”

This litigation was not fought at the taxpayers’ expense.  All legal fees were paid with fines collected from violators of Indiana’s securities laws.  To maximize the recovery to schools, Secretary Lawson waived the right to levy fines against ISTA and the NEA and to seek repayment of attorneys fees.

 

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Gov. Pence, Supt. Ritz Issue Joint Statement

27 Nov

 

 

Indianapolis, IN – Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz yesterday agreed to have the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) facilitate a conversation among the members of the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE) regarding roles, responsibilities, and the operations of the Board.  Under the leadership of Superintendent Ritz, Indiana re-joined NASBE earlier this year.  Governor Pence and Superintendent Ritz also discussed the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI).

“I am grateful to the Superintendent for her willingness to work with my administration to address the challenges and opportunities for Hoosier students, teachers and schools. I also appreciate the Superintendent’s willingness to work with members of the Indiana State Board of Education and NASBE to resolve differences that have arisen on the board,” said Governor Pence.

“Since the last meeting of the State Board of Education, I have said that the Governor and I needed to work together directly to address recent issues that have arisen,” said Superintendent Ritz.  “Yesterday’s meeting was a first step towards that goal.  I believe the Governor now has a clearer understanding of my concerns regarding the CECI, but much work remains to be done.”

 

$9 Million in Grants to Help Schools Improve Safety

11 Nov

INDIANAPOLIS—Surrounded by students and staff at Cedar Elementary School in Avon, today Governor Mike Pence announced more than $9 million in grant funding to local schools and school corporations through the Secured School Safety Grant Program. The Indiana Secured School Safety Board approved the grants.
“The safety of the students, teachers, and administrators in our schools is of the utmost importance to the people of Indiana, and I count it a privilege to distribute these resources to schools across our state,” Governor Pence said. “These grants will allow our public schools and school corporations to add resources that will help secure our schools so they can focus on educating our students.”
The program is a dedicated state grant fund that provides matching grants to school corporations, charter schools, or coalitions of school corporations and/or charter schools applying jointly to:

    Employ a school resource officer (SRO)
    Conduct a threat assessment
    Purchase equipment to restrict access to the school or expedite the notification of first responders.

School corporations, charter schools,or coalitions with an average daily membership (ADM) of at least 1,000 students applied for grants up to $50,000 per year. Eligible entities with an ADM of less than 1,000 students applied for grants of up to $35,000 per year.
**list of schools who have gotten grants by county:

  • Lake County
      Aspire Charter Academy received $12,718
      for school security equipment.
      Crown Point Community School Corporation received $50,000
      for school security equipment.
      Gary Community School Corporation received $25,000
      for school security equipment.
      Hanover Community School Corporation received $27,687.76
      to employ an SRO.
      Lake Central School Corporation received $39,463.50
      for school security equipment.
      Lake Ridge Schools received $50,000
      for security equipment,threat assessment, and employ SRO.
      Lake Station Community Schools received $40,000
      to employ an SRO.
      Merrillville Community Schools received $30,170
      for school security equipment.
      River Forest Community School Corporation received $7,100
      for school security equipment.
      School Town of Highland received $50,000
      for school security equipment.
      School Town of Munster received $30,298.60
      for security equipment and to employ an SRO.
      Thea Bowman Leadership Academy received $15,000
      to employ an SRO.
      Tri-Creek School Corporation received $49,316
      for security equipment and to employ an SRO.
      Whiting School City received $50,000
      for security equipment,threat assessment, an SRO.

    Porter
    Duneland School Corporation received $35,000
    for security equipment.
    East Porter County School Corporation received $49,549.50
    for school security equipment.
    Neighbors’ New Vistas High School received $35,000
    to employ an SRO.
    Portage Township Schools received $49,658.09
    for school security equipment.
    Porter Township School Corporation received $45,000
    for security equipment and an SRO.