Education
12:45 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Kansas BOE To Prosecutors: Quit Failing To Report Felons

The Kansas State Board of Education wants prosecutors to do a better job reporting felony convictions so problem teachers can be weeded from the profession.

The BOE discussed the issue yesterday when it revoked the licenses of six teachers. Four of the teachers had been convicted of sex offenses against minors.

Kansas law requires prosecutors to report all felony convictions to the Department of Education monthly so it can check them against employment rosters. However, that law does not list any penalties for prosecutors who fail to comply with that requirement.

The state says only 14 of the state's 105 county prosecutors have filed any reports with the department within the past two years.

Without changing the law, "I think we have students at risk," board member Ken Willard said.

Cheryl Whelan, general counsel for the Department of Education, said the reporting problems persist despite efforts over the last two years to get more cooperation from prosecutors.

"Obviously whatever we've done in the past is not getting the job done," Willard said. "We need to make it a higher priority for us."

Whelan said some small, rural counties may not be filing reports because they haven't had any felony convictions in the past two years. But noticeably absent from the list of counties reporting was Wyandotte County, the state's fourth-largest, where there were more than 9,000 serious crimes reported in 2012 alone, according to FBI data.