Gist—State Will Review Criminal Record of Central Falls Trustee
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Estrada was appointed by the Board of Regents in 2007. At the time, Gist was not commissioner.
“I have become aware this week of allegations about the background of Leslie Estrada, a member of the Central Falls Board of Trustees. It is not evident whether the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) or the Board of Regents knew of these allegations at the time of Ms. Estrada’s appointment in November 2007,” Gist said in a statement Tuesday.
Since she had become commissioner, Gist said she had “taken steps” to ensure that the state has a “vetting process” in place to screen candidates for appointments by the Board of Regents.
“In keeping with our current practice, I have asked the Legal Office at RIDE to look into Ms. Estrada’s background, using a process similar to our background checks on applicants for educator certification. I will provide the results of this background check to the Regents for their review and consideration,” Gist said.
Board of Regents not aware of criminal past
Gist has previously said that, as a general rule, a criminal conviction followed by a long period of a clean record would not necessarily bar someone from serving as a volunteer on a board. But she has yet to comment specifically on Estrada.
Her announcement comes after state education leaders spoke out on the issue.
Former chairman of the Board of Regents, Bob Flanders, told GoLocalProv he had been completely unaware of her past. He said such information would have been relevant when the board was considering whether to appoint her.
Also, Frank Flynn, the head of the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said he was surprised that the state had not properly vetted Estrada’s background. Most teachers would not be able to work with a similar record—and Flynn said the same standards should apply to everyone in school districts.
Click here to read the original GoLocalProv report on Estrada.
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