Indianapolis Star Gives Teacher Union Troubles Front-Page Treatment

Don’t let the headline fool you. The text of the Indianapolis Star‘s extensive piece – “Indiana State Teachers Association regaining momentum” – gives exactly the opposite impression.

The story is an examination of the union’s financial problems, but it also provides the previously undisclosed news that ISTA reached a settlement with former executive director Warren L. Williams last year. You may recall that Williams was considered to be the primary reason for the collapse of the union’s insurance trust, and ISTA sued him for restitution.

It was mighty surprising, therefore, to read that “Williams said he got ISTA to pay his substantial legal fees, and then some.” He had more to say:

“I am extremely angry, extremely bitter,” said Williams, now retired at age 70 on Hilton Head Island, S.C. “The biggest hurt probably is the 45 years I gave to NEA and the way they treated me. We would never allow a member to be treated (like that) — no hearings, no due process, nothing.”

Williams contends ISTA shelled out far more in legal fees pursuing him and others in court over the insurance fund collapse than it recovered in settlement money.

“A lot of members should be really upset and should be asking for a total accounting,” he said. “It’s just an absolute total waste of money.”

Pike wouldn’t discuss details of the settlements with Williams or others, other than to say Williams’ account is “incomplete and inaccurate.”

You’ll also find a lot of substantiation of ISTA’s budget concerns, including its expected solvency date of 2027.