If you’re a substitute teacher who recently applied for a license in Colorado, chances are you’re still waiting to find out if you’ve been approved. The reason is simple: The Colorado Department of Education’s Educator Licensing Division is mired in a backlog so deep it’s still sifting through applications submitted three months ago, according to 9News. At the center of the problem are eight workers tasked with evaluating a staggering 40,000 applications each year. Jami Goetz, the executive director of professional services and educator licensing, says budget cuts and understaffing are major factors. But, the department also relies on paperwork entered by hand into an antiquated computer database.
The Department of Education, meanwhile, is seeking $112,000 to track arrests of teachers around the state, an effort to ensure the safety of children. The request comes from Colorado Board of Education chairman Bob Schaffer, after an investigation by the Fort Collins Coloradoan found education workers were largely ignoring a law that requires the state Department of Ed to alert local school boards when educators are arrested. The new money would dedicate three full-time workers to processing alerts sent from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Local governments and school boards are also wrangling with teacher pension contributions; creating a performance-based funding system for state colleges and universities; and requiring physical activity for elementary school students, reports Education News Colorado.