District 25 requiring background checks on all new hires

Feb 7, 2014 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

All new hires for Fremont County School District 25 will be required to receive a full background check from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.

The school board approved the new process Jan. 28 after the district determined the assessments could no longer be done by the Department of Family Services. In collaboration with DCI, DFS was charging $10 for each background check and report. Now the district will use DCI directly and pay the agency $39 for each report.

Personnel manager Karen Wardner said the district will reimburse the individuals.

Before DFS did the checks, Wardner said that the background investigations were performed by an organization that limited the information it shared with the districts.

Just recently, when the board found out DFS could no longer do the checks and other organizations could not provide full reports to the district, the board members went with an option that met the regulations of the Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board.

"Right now we're being far more rigid then what the state requires us to do and that makes us feel better about it," Wardner said.

This year, Wardner said 60 new staff members and 70 new substitute teachers and volunteers were hired and will be required to have a background check --costing the district roughly $5,000.

"In the past it (was) just classified (staff) that was required (to pay), now it's all, including our teachers, substitutes, volunteers, coaches, and student-teachers," Wardner told the board during its meeting Jan. 28.

Classified staff includes non-certified teachers, aides, paraprofessionals, secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, etc. Wardner said classified staff has always had to pay for their background checks, and to be fair, now all new employees will be reimbursed.

"It is a little bit of a cost to us, but the safety of our kids and staff is the high priority," District 25 superintendent Terry Snyder said.

Certified staff members get their background checks when they get their teaching certificates with the state's PTSB, and they are required to get another with the school district. The district also conducts an online national and state sex offender query.

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