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One Dozen District 186 Teachers Not Qualified for Jobs
About a dozen Springfield public school teachers are not fully qualified for the grade levels or subjects they're assigned to lead. That's what the Regional Office of Education found during its most recent compliance check of the district.
District 186 is reviewing its hiring practices after learning a teacher charged with criminal sexual assault isn't qualified for her job.
The one dozen teachers who don't have the proper credentials represent less than 1 percent of the district. In some cases, it's mix-up of paperwork. But, the district acknowledges it's an issue.
After her arrest, the Regional Office of Education confirmed 36-year-old Jennifer Tyree doesn't have the proper endorsement to teach at the high school level.
"If they have emergency hire, which is extremely common - people who quit, move - there was a new law that was passed last year that allows a district to hire a sub for 30 days while they go and search for someone who's qualified to fill the position," Shannon Fehrholz, Sangamon County's assistant regional superintendent of schools, said. "If they haven't been able to find somebody to fill the position, they can fill out a form."
District 186 didn't file the form for Tyree, who was hired right around the start of the school year.
Fehrholz said her office's most recent compliance check for District 186 shows about a dozen teachers aren't fully qualified for their jobs.
"That's not to say they didn't have a teaching certificate," Fehrholz said. "Some were easily rectified by showing the transcripts to show they had the coursework and were eligible for the endorsement. It's confusing. Some of the educators don't realize it doesn't just stop with taking the classes. They need to provide the transcripts proving the coursework. They actually need to apply for endorsements."
District 186 Superintendent Walter Milton, Jr. acknowledged Monday the district hasn't followed all of the steps necessary to hire teachers, out of urgency to fill certain positions.
"Our goal is to make sure we recruit, hire and retain the best possible teachers for the students in our schools," Milton said.
He met with the school board behind closed doors to discuss the matter.
"What I'm most concerned about is those that have gone outside the process," District 186 School Board President Bill Looby said. "If we've gone through the process, that's something we need to address, too, at some point."
The Regional Office of Education said the district is addressing all of the issues and works diligently to correct problems as they arise.
The office is planning another compliance check this spring.
The district could face repercussions for Tyree's hire. She's on unpaid administrative leave, sitting behind bars.
The teacher is charged with criminal sexual assault for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old student.
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