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State: Des Moines district didn't follow directive

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Des Moines school administrators could face sanctions from the state for not removing from the classroom two instructors who did not have the appropriate credentials, the Iowa Department of Education said.

The department flagged the problems in March and told administrators to take the employees out of the classroom by April 7, the Des Moines Register ( ) reported Wednesday.

"That's a serious area for noncompliance," said department administrator Del Hoover. "Most districts when we inform them of a situation will remove the teachers immediately."

Hoover said if state officials determine that the two teachers were not removed, an ethics complaint would likely be filed against the administrators who assigned the teachers to the positions.

Beth Myers, attorney for the Iowa Board of Education Examiners, said in a report that a teacher who teaches Mandarin Chinese does not have a teaching license and hasn't taken steps to become licensed. Myers also said an eighth-grade U.S. government teacher lacked the proper endorsements to teach government.

Des Moines schools Superintendent Nancy Sebring said the district has resolved the two licensing issues.

She said the government teacher lacked the proper endorsements to teach the course and will not be teaching the class this school year. Sebring said the state incorrectly identified the other instructor as a teacher instead of a teacher aide.

State officials said the district failed to provide evidence that it took the required action by the deadline, and that it believed the Mandarin instructor was acting as a teacher.

The Register reported that the licensure issues were among 19 violations found during an accreditation visit by the state.

Other violations included inappropriate use of gifted and talented money to pay the salaries of staff not involved in the program, 12th-grade students attending school for fewer than the required 175 days and a lack of a comprehensive counseling program.

State officials complimented the district's efforts in crafting a professional development plan, using student achievement data to improve classroom instruction and providing students with a safe and secure environment.

The Department of Education makes accreditation visits to Iowa school districts about every five years.