Rise & Shine: Former IPS teachers union leader pleads guilty to embezzling $100,000

“How is the money more important than these kids?”

That was a thought one parent to a student attending Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy shared with Chalkbeat this week, after several families said they learned the virtual charter schools would be closing soon — with little to no warning from school officials. 

It’s a reality that I saw firsthand while reporting from a graduation ceremony for the two schools in June, where the parents, graduates, and current students I interviewed said they didn’t know about the schools’ troubling developments.  

The thousands of students enrolled could face a long road ahead as they seek to recover transcripts from the schools while they’re still open. Read more in Stephanie’s story below. 

We also have an update about the former president of the Indianapolis Public Schools teachers union, who recently pleaded guilty to misusing more than $100,000 of the group’s budget. She faces up to 20 years in prison.

— Erica Irish, reporter

Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.

OPEN OR CLOSED?: Confusion is swirling over whether two beleaguered online schools, at odds with the state and their oversight agency, are still operating, potentially leaving thousands of students and teachers in limbo. Chalkbeat 

UNION SCANDAL: The former head of the Indianapolis Public Schools teachers union pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling more than $100,000. Chalkbeat, IndyStar, Fox59, RTV6

GUN VIOLENCE: A teacher on the city’s east side is begging local officials to work faster to combat gun violence after two of her eighth-grade students were involved in shootings. Fox59

PROTEST: Educators from Greater Lafayette plan to demonstrate at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds today. Journal & Courier 

REFERENDUM: An economist is calling a proposed referendum for Vigo County Schools a “wild card” as taxpayers could be asked to approve a new Terre Haute casino, more. Tribune-Star

MENTAL HEALTH: Schools in Oregon are preparing to face a new law that allows students to count “mental health days” as excused absences. WTHR, AP, Fox59

This columnist argues the nation will be watching Oregon as it implements the new policy. Indy K12 

SUPPLY DRIVE: This Pike High School alumna and actress — with appearances in major films like “Pitch Perfect” and “Django Unchained” to her name — held a supply drive for Indianapolis students. WTHR 

START DATES: Find out when students around Indianapolis will head back to school. IndyStar