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Slow case resolution plagues teacher licensing board, audit finds

Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins released a highly critical report on January 14 of the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.

Atkins cited several “substantial” deficiencies centering on the agency’s inability to issue licenses, complete investigations, or respond to educator questions.

Factors contributing to the delays, according to the audit, include cuts to management and staff during the recession, a complex paper-based licensing system, and a website that does not readily offer fundamental licensing inquiries.

Perhaps the most concerning item was the agency’s response to licensee applications and disciplinary matters.

“Applicants who filed for licenses in July 2015 faced a four month wait. Investigation lengths averaged more than 14 months in 2015. Response times to emails from educators… still average more than a week,” the audit states.

The increasing of licensing fees by the Oregon Legislature should allow the agency to hire more staff and rectify the issues, according to the report.

Read the entire audit here.