DENVER (CBS4) – A former Denver Public Schools counselor claims she was fired for blowing the whistle after uncovering fraudulent activity within the school system.
Carol Gianfrancisco was working as a counselor at Denver Public Schools’ Contemporary Learning Academy.
She claims her supervisors asked her to make fake schedules for students who never attended the school.
“We were told to put them in classes that did not exist and those classes were supposedly taught by me,” said Gianfrancisco.
She said the school got an extra $7,000 in state funding per “fake” student it claimed.
When she blew the whistle on what was happening she said the district eliminated her job.
“Even though I had been at the school for two years and had positive performance appraisals, I kind of knew, they were retaliating,” said Gianfrancisco.
Her attorney, Sharyn Dreyer, filed a federal lawsuit this week against Denver Public Schools claiming the district violated Gianfrancisco’s freedom of speech.
“She has the right as a public citizen, as we all do, to speak out,” said Dreyer.
The district said it would not comment on pending litigation.
“Carol is a very good teacher and the fact that she was taken out of her job and is being prevented from getting a full time job where she could really work with students in the Denver Public Schools hurts the students,” said Dreyer.
Gianfrancisco is now subbing for the district and wants a full time job but said she’s been denied nearly 60 times.
“I love teaching that’s what I’ve done my whole life, I love the kids, I want to make a difference,” said Gianfrancisco.