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Controversial, cash strapped Indy charter school network gets $2M federal grant

A charter school network based in Indianapolis has received nearly $2 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Tindley Network Schools has struggled with financial problems amid reports of lavish spending by its CEO, who resigned amid scandal earlier this year.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reported on former CEO, Marcus Robinson’s spending in December 2015:

According to records obtained by IBJ, Robinson used his Tindley credit card over the past two years to make frequent first-class flights, stay at four- and five-star hotels — including the Ritz Carlton and the Waldorf Astoria — and pay for meals. The network was also billed roughly $10,200 for personal fitness training for staff members in 2013, although Robinson said they were too busy to use it.

The paper also reported on the charter school network’s financial and teacher turnover issues in March:

A cash crunch, substantial teacher and administrative turnover, missed enrollment targets and unfounded rumors about the possible closure of an elementary school — whispers that had the network scrambling to keep principals from leaving — continue to plague Tindley.

Tindley parent Amelia Aguirre said she was pulling her son out of Tindley school because he had been without an algebra teacher for three months.

“I feel like Tindley has failed us,” Aguirre said at the Feb. 25 meeting, where Tindley leaders were meeting for a frank conversation about the homegrown network’s future.