Colorado teacher suspensions posted on Internet
DENVER (AP) ” The state Board of Education said Wednesday it has posted the results of teacher suspensions on the Internet, but the public still has to go to board headquarters if they want to see the complete files on final disciplinary actions by the board.
In a statement, the board insisted that a 2005 change to an electronic agenda provides the same information to the public about final disciplinary actions concerning teachers and all teacher license holders that it has provided since 1997.
“In 2005, the board converted to an electronic agenda to save on costs and to increase Web-based access to the board’s business,” it said.
“Board minutes are posted on the board’s Web page and files of cases with final agency action may be reviewed at the department offices,” the board said in response to an AP story on Tuesday that said the switch made it more difficult for the public to find information on teachers who have been disciplined.
Education Commissioner Dwight Jones said he has asked his staff to improve public access to public documents.
“The Colorado State Board of Education and the Colorado Department of Education continue to look for ways to improve public access to educational documents, data and pending issues. Commissioner Jones has asked the communications office to upgrade the department’s Web site with the aim to improve access to all public documents,” department spokesman Mark Stevens said.
The board said it posted a synopsis of two disciplinary cases from a Feb. 14 meeting shortly after the meeting. It said that any time the board approves a final agency action against a teacher, the teacher’s name and information about the case is posted for public review.
On its Web site, the board says it can take several weeks to post board minutes giving details of teacher settlements when a final board action has been taken.
As of Wednesday, the board had not posted minutes for a March 6 meeting.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would give school districts 24 hours to report allegations of sexual misconduct by teachers to the Colorado Department of Education. The bill has won unanimous approval in the House Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 1344 would also require the state Department of Education to pass that information on to other school districts inquiring about teacher applicants.
School districts would be required to report any teacher who is fired or who resigns because of allegations of illegal behavior involving a child, if the claim is supported by significant evidence, even if there is no conviction.
A report to the state Board of Education showed there were 293 disciplinary actions against Colorado teachers from 1998-2007, including 51 sexual assaults on a child and four sexual assaults involving adults.
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