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Overview and Background Information
CDE sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience this fingerprint resubmission may cause those veteran educators affected. The department understands that this may present a financial hardship for some educators, and therefore has implemented procedures to either waive or reimburse the fee typically charged for this type of submission. The waiver/reimbursement will apply only to educators who the CBI is able to confirm have previously submitted a fingerprint card and associated fee for educator licensing purposes. No waiver or reimbursement will be provided for educators who have not previously completed this process specifically for CDE credentialing, as confirmed by CBI.
Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes worked with officials at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation who agreed to waive the $39.50 fingerprint processing fee for many veteran educators who will be contacted to resubmit their fingerprints for background checks, and CDE has developed a reimbursement process for those who have already submitted fingerprint cards and associated fees.
We are diligently in the process of emailing everyone that is affected by the CDE 2016-17 fingerprint audit. During this time, please be respectful to your fellow educators in allowing us time to send everyone affected an email so that they have as much time as possible to get reprinted and submit their fingerprints to the CBI. This is a hard issue for each of us and we sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding.
Please note that your email address must be current in your eLicensing account. If you are unable to access the email you have associated with your account, you will not receive the critical communication required to utilize your waiver/reimbursement. CDE is not responsible for lost or misdirected emails, as it is the responsibility of the educator to maintain accurate contact information in their eLicensing account. It is always recommended to use a personal email address. To validate or update your email address, log in to your eLicensing account.
If you are seeking to utilize the waiver or submit for reimbursement, please take immediate action based on the communication you receive. The Waiver/Reimbursement programs will close at the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30, 2017, and will not be available after that time. That means that after June 30, 2017 you will be liable for the costs of this requirement. If you cannot be fingerprinted during this time, you can be printed at any time that is more convenient for you but the waiver and reimbursement programs will not be available.
The issue with the fingerprints was discovered around Sept. 2015 when a review of the Colorado Department of Education's educator licensure database found that some educator licensees' records did not include the required background check results originally processed by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
While we don’t know precisely what happened with the original background check results, we suspect that something went wrong while processing results to CDE’s database prior to 2004 when CDE was implementing a change in the law requiring all educators to submit fingerprints.
This problem affects active educators who were issued licenses from 1997 to 2003. The issue does not pose a safety risk for our students. CBI has records of the educators’ fingerprints and background checks.
Nevertheless, this record-keeping error must be corrected. Though both CBI and FBI have background checks for these individuals, CDE does not have those on file, which is required by state law. Therefore, these educators must resubmit their fingerprints to CBI so that their background check results can be transmitted to CDE.
How will I know if I am required to submit a new fingerprint card?
You will receive email communication from CDE informing you of the fingerprint requirement and next steps.
You can verify your background check status at any time by logging in to your eLicensing account and clicking on the "Alerts" tab in the "My Credential Information" section of your account.
- If the status displays "Cleared FP background check" your results are current and no further action is required on your part.
- If the status reads "No Fingerprint/Background Results Received" your background check must be updated. Check your email in the coming weeks for communication from CDE (or for communication that may have been previously sent from a CDE email domain) with instructions for next steps.
If you need to be fingerprinted, follow the instructions for CDE fingerprinting.
- Obtain an Applicant Fingerprint Card #FD-258. Most law enforcement agencies will provide this card as a part of their service. If they do not, you may purchase a fingerprint card from Colorado Correctional Industries (CCI) or Amazon.com. (Neither CDE nor CBI provide fingerprint cards.)
- Have new fingerprints taken by a law enforcement agency ($5.00 to $10.00 fee from your local law enforcement may apply).
- Mail that fingerprint card, with either your money order/credit card voucher for $39.50 or your waiver letter with unique waiver insignia (a reimbursement letter is not a waiver), to the CBI at 690 Kipling St, Suite 3000, Lakewood CO 80215. Never mail cards to CDE.
No other costs will be reimbursed including local law enforcement cost, postage, or substitute fees. There are no extensions of time for the waiver or reimbursement
Waivers vs. Reimbursements
The funds to cover the fees for waivers and reimbursements will be split between CDE and CBI, which are both fee-funded agencies. For this reason, eligible educators will use one of two pathways to receive funds to cover their background check fees.
The email you will receive from CDE will provide information clarifying whether you will pursue a waiver or a reimbursement.
CBI has agreed to waive the $39.50 background check fee for a portion of educators who have been identified as having previously submitted a fingerprint card for educator credentialing purposes who need to update their background checks by submitting a new fingerprint card. Waivers may be provided to educators who have not previously been contacted by CDE regarding their fingerprint status as part of our records audit.
How will I know if I have been identified to receive a fee waiver?
You will receive an email from a CDE email domain titled "Important Message from CDE: New Fingerprints are Needed" which will contain instructions and a waiver insignia unique to your information that will allow CBI to identify you as an educator who qualifies for a waiver.
Next Steps - June 1, 2017 Postmark Deadline
Fingerprint cards will be processed by CBI in the order they are received, and we anticipate submission volumes to increase closer to the waiver deadline. For this reason, we encourage you to take immediate action to ensure your card is able to be processed.
To take advantage of the fee waiver offered by the CBI:
- Mail your accurately completed fingerprint card to CBI no later than June 1, 2017 (the CBI must process your fingerprint card by June 30, 2017 or you will not be eligible for the fee waiver). CBI's mailing address is:
Colorado Bureau of Investigation
690 Kipling St., Suite 4000
Lakewood, CO 80215
- A paper copy of your waiver email bearing your unique waiver insignia must accompany your complete fingerprint card.
CDE may be able to reimburse educators for their $39.50 fingerprint processing fee if the educator received communication from CDE to resubmit fingerprints and did not receive a waiver.
How will I know if I am eligible to apply to receive a reimbursement?
You will receive an email from a CDE email domain titled "Important Message from CDE: Fingerprint Fee Reimbursement Program" which will contain a reimbursement insignia unique to your information. The email will provide detailed instructions for the reimbursement request process.
Next Steps - June 23, 2017 Reimbursement Request Deadline
To take advantage of the fee reimbursement for qualified educators offered by CDE:
- Confirm that CBI has processed your fingerprint card resubmission and your background check results have been received by CDE by logging in to your eLicensing account and clicking on the "Alerts" tab in the "My Credential Information" section of your account. If the status displays "Cleared FP background check" your results have been processed.
- Submit an online reimbursement request according to the instructions on your reimbursement email no later than June 23, 2017.
- A copy of your reimbursement email bearing your unique reimbursement insignia must be uploaded into your reimbursement request.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q – Is this real or a scam?
A – This is very real, and to verify you should log into your Colorado Department of Education eLicensing account and view your “Alerts” tab where you will see your current background/fingerprint status.
Q – How did CDE “lose” my records?
A – No records were lost and your information was not compromised in any way. Current statute states that you must submit a fingerprint card for the purpose of determining if a criminal history exists. If you received an email it means that our records do not have both a CBI result and an FBI result and we must have both before concluding that no criminal history exists.
Q – Why do I have to submit new fingerprints? Why can’t CDE just call the CBI for that information?
A – The only way to have a new criminal history check conducted is by the submission of a new fingerprint card. We cannot simply call the CBI and have a new history check conducted. Also, most of the educators affected by this fingerprint audit were printed prior to 2004 and the statutes regarding fingerprinting have changed. Some states require new fingerprints to be submitted with every application or renewal.
Q – Who is paying for my fee to the police department that took my fingerprints?
A – Unfortunately, CDE is not reimbursing any fees other than the $39.50 CBI/FBI fingerprint processing fee for those that qualify and the CBI has graciously waived their portion of the fingerprint fee and is paying for the FBI portion of the fee.
Q – I have already been printed for my school district, why can’t CDE just use that?
A – Unfortunately, to protect your privacy, CBI requires that you submit a fingerprint card specifically for the Colorado Department of Education.
Q – Why can’t CDE reimburse all my costs?
A – The CDE Educator Licensing Unit along with the CBI Identification Unit are fee-based state agencies. We would have to raise everyone’s fee to cover costs as we receive no tax dollars to help offset this cost.
Q – Can I have an extension as I can’t submit my fingerprints until after the expiration date?
A – We’re sorry, but we must pay for this program under this year’s funds. The fiscal year ends June 30th, 2017 so all expenditures must be submitted by then. You can still submit fingerprints after the deadline, but you will have to pay the $39.50 CBI/FBI fingerprint processing fee.