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Pursuant to KRS 161.028(1)(a), the Education Professional Standards Board ("the Board") is responsible for establishing standards and requirements for obtaining and maintaining a certificate. Accordingly, all applicants for initial certification and renewal are required to submit a Character and Fitness application. Therein, the applicant is asked several questions pertaining to past convictions or disciplinary action in relation to past employment. Any "yes" answer requires that the Board approve the application.
All such applications are submitted to Legal Services staff and a summary of the self-reported details is prepared and presented at the next regularly-scheduled board meeting.
In evaluating Character and Fitness applications, there are no grounds for automatic denial of certification. However, KRS 160.380(3) prohibits a superintendent from hiring a violent offender or a person convicted of a felony sex crime.
The Board considers, among other things, the nature of the offense, if any children or minors were involved, if any violence or drugs were involved, how long ago the event occurred, the age of the applicant at the time of the offense, and if any terms of a sentence or probation were fulfilled. The Board then determines whether to approve or deny the application. (The Board may also ask for additional information before making its decision.)
The applicant is advised of the Board decision by letter. In the event the application is denied, the applicant is further advised of his or her right to a hearing pursuant to KRS 161.120(5)(a)2. If an applicant exercises that right, the case proceeds along the same course as a disciplinary case, culminating in Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and a Final Order.
The Education Professional Standards Board ("the Board") has an established precedent to approve Character and Fitness applications that indicate certain past misdemeanor convictions. Based upon that precedent, the Board authorizes a staff attorney to issue preliminary approval for certification under the following conditions:
Legal staff will notify the applicant of the preliminary approval contingent upon Board approval. Each case of preliminary approval will be submitted to the Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting for review and final approval. The certificates of those applicants approved by the Board shall remain valid. The certificates of those applicants subsequently denied by the Board shall be automatically revoked and the applicant (and employing district) notified immediately by the Board legal staff. The applicant shall be entitled to appeal as set out in KRS 161.120(5)(a)2.