Evergreen Public Schools officials have asked for more time to fulfill the terms of an agreement resolving two federal civil rights cases brought against it over its treatment of girls’ athletic programs.
The district has until Nov. 15 to provide the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights with a detailed plan to bring the district’s four high schools into compliance with Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education including athletic programs.
“The district is working on a voluntary resolution with the Office of Civil Rights to come to an agreement … to ensure the district is in compliance,” said Carol Fenstermacher, director of community relations for Evergreen Public Schools. “The district wants to make sure we know exactly what OCR needs from us in order to best address the complaints.”
Though it has sought more time, Fenstermacher said the district is “moving forward as if the deadline is Nov. 15.”
In January, the district entered into an agreement in response to a complaint filed in July 2011 that alleged the district offers inferior facilities, equipment, supplies and publicity to girls’ softball teams than it does to boys’ baseball. The voluntary resolution agreement does not include an admission of any violation of federal law by the district.
A similar complaint was filed in 2005 by Vancouver parent Mark Rossmiller. In the current federal case, it is unclear who filed the complaint. The name of the complainant is missing from copies of the original document obtained by The Columbian.
Steve Getsinger, the district’s director of school services, and Bruce Nashiv, the district’s executive director of human resources, met with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights in Seattle on Thursday.
“The District disputes these allegations, but nonetheless has been working closely with the Office of Civil Rights to ensure compliance with Title IX,” Getsinger wrote in an email Friday. “The District has cooperated fully to offer comparable facilities for girls and boys sports, and importantly, to be sure that all participants are provided opportunities consistent with their athletic interests.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., said the agency does not share the details of open cases. But he did confirm two Title IX complaints involving the Evergreen School District “that were resolved with voluntary resolution agreements which are currently under monitoring by OCR to ensure their full implementation.”