Teachers union wants PED to speed up background checks | KOB 4
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Teachers union wants PED to speed up background checks

Patrick Hayes
October 01, 2018 08:36 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Albuquerque Teachers Federation wants the state needs to speed up its process of doing background checks on potential teachers.

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On Monday, the union’s president, Ellen Bernstein, told KOB, “Every school in APS and every school statewide is struggling with shortages.”

Bernstein and state Sen. Mimi Stewart (D) criticized the state’s public education department for "dragging its feet" after learning that 130 APS employees are still waiting for their background checks to clear.

According to APS, the district needs to hire 191 teachers.

They currently have 130 applications pending, but according to the state, many of those packets are not complete.

In a statement, public education department secretary Christopher Ruszkowski said, “Sen. Mimi Stewart and APS leaders are misinforming the public. All properly completed release forms that had completed applications and background checks have been returned to APS.”

According to PED, once the application is complete, it should take about two weeks to approve or deny.

Ruszkowski added, “The department remains in constant communication with APS and all district and charter schools regarding licensure and FBI background checks. It seems both the Senator and district leaders are unaware of the licensure and background processes, but the department would be happy to educate them so they can better inform their constituents.” 

APS said 35 of the 130 applications are for teachers, the rest are for other positions within the district.

A spokesperson with PED said they recently told the district that 75 applications were incomplete 17 were denied because they had an arrest record and had not been cleared to teach.

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Patrick Hayes

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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