BVSD implemented a new policy regarding its volunteers last Jan & it received some media coverage, but now that it’s fully in place, we are beginning to see and feel the effects.
Yes, we want to protect our children: the recent alleged crimes at Penn State are a stark reminder of why these policies were put into effect.
However, the communication and implementation of these rules has been inadequate and insufficient.
If you volunteer in the classroom, fieldtrip, or certain other events you are required to receive a background check, at the cost of $16/year from the company the district has contracted with. (There has been no information on why the district chose this company.)
$16/year for K-12 = $208.
If you get fingerprinted & receive a background check from CBI, it costs $39.50 – one time, and is good for as long as you live in the state. Yet the district didn’t inform volunteers of this option. Some schools know of this option, others don’t.
If you want to drive students on a school event, you must pay $22.50 for a motor vehicle background check. The “regular” background check is included in this fee, however, if you’ve already paid for a background check, you still must pay the full $22.50. This is also a yearly fee (total for 13 years: $292.50).
The company the school has chosen to do these background checks stands to make quite a bit of money over the next several years.
The district doesn’t seem to know if a motor vehicle check is required for BVSD employees (all of whom were required to be fingerprinted/background checked this year, if they hadn’t been already), or volunteers who have a background check done by the CBI. Calls and e-mails to the HR dept go unanswered, and different schools are telling volunteers different things.
The schools have said they will pay for the fees: Are you really ok with schools spending $208 instead of $39.50 per volunteer? And then additionally paying up to $292.50 so a volunteer/employee can drive his/her kid and a few others to events? This is how we want our tax dollars or donations to schools spent?
Why is there no clear communication from the district, about state background checks or other, cheaper options?
Where is the option of “carpool” versus “need a motor vehicle background check to drive 3-5 kids 5-10 miles for an event”?
This policy has delayed volunteers from going into the classroom. I used to help recruit and organize between 20-50 volunteers to go into the classrooms to help the teachers. I would not attempt to do that today with all of this red tape. I’ve spent more time trying to figure out the rules for the 10 volunteers that I now organize, than I ever did with the larger group.
This policy has taken time and money to implement, it has been implemented poorly, and it has been implemented differently at different schools.
BVSD schools, children and the community deserve better than this.