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Background checks expanded for school employees

August 29, 2013
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

By Joyce Wiese

News Correspondent

South Tama schools Superintendent Kerry Nelson provided details of a new law signed in June by Governor Terry Branstad on background checks for school districts during the regular meeting of the school board on Monday, Aug. 19.

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Some of the provisions include:

Prior to hiring an applicant for a school employee position, a school district shall have access to and shall review information in the Iowa court information system available to the general public, the sex offender registry information available to the general public, the central registry for dependent adult abuse information established for information regarding the applicant.

A school district shall follow the same procedure by June 30, 2014, for each school employee employed by the school as of July 1, 2013.

A school district shall implement a consistent policy to follow the same procedure for each school employee employed by the school district on or after July 1, 2013 at least every five years after the school employee's initial date of hire and shall maintain documentation demonstrating compliance with this.

Being listed in the sex offender registry established under chapter 692A, the central registry for child abuse information established under section 235A.14

Or, the central registry for dependent adult abuse information shall constitute grounds for the immediate suspension from duties of a school employee, pending a termination hearing by the board of directors of a school district. A termination hearing conducted pursuant to this subsection shall be limited to the question of whether the school employee was incorrectly listed in the registry.

For purposes of this section, "school employee" means an individual employed by a school district, including a part time substitute or contract employee.

This all means the school must check registries and court records prior to hiring employees, beginning July 1, 2013. The District must be able to document that existing employees were checked by June 30, 2014. The District must have a consistent policy for the same procedure to recheck every five years, based on employees initial dat4 of hire, can't charge the employee for the check and must have documentation.

If there's a positive hit on one of the registries, it constitutes grounds for immediate suspension of duties, pending a termination hearing. You can define school employee as an individual employed by the district, including part-time, substitute or contract employee. Exempts employees are BOEE governed regulated applicants for licensure, , licensed teachers that aren't initial teachers but are required to be checked upon hire by the district, administrators, substitute teachers, non-teaching coaches, and bus drivers. It requires rechecks every five years based on the anniversary date of hire.

All of the considerations must all be paid by the school.


Contracts approved were: Olivia Van Zante, fall event coordinator starting Aug. 26, $3,500; Shelby Pennington Farmer, high school special education aide, $9.37 per hour; Bryan Anderson, 7th grade football coach, $1,762; Kathy Ferneau, elementary kitchen worker, $11.70 per hour; and Teresa Vodochodsky, middle school special education aide, $9.72 per hour.

Internal transfers include Naomi Chyma transferring from elementary kitchen to middle school kitchen manager and Wendy Stull from elementary kitchen to middle school kitchen.

Tim Downs has been scheduled as regular route substitute bus driver starting October,, 2013 at $26.50 per hour.

Mike Stein will be a volunteer football coach, starting August, 2013.

One resignation came from Brenda Wanatee, elementary Title VII Aide.

In other business the school board:

was shown a slide of the South Tama County Band and Chorus trip to New York City this summer. Band Instructor Mike Carnahan gave the program, and told the board he could not be any prouder of a group of young students than those from South Tama who took the trip. Carnahan said they were a group anyone would be proud to claim. Carnahan and band students are already looking forward to another trip in the future.

approved the Mid-Iowa Community Action Food Service meals at the Tama Head Start center located at 105 South State Street, Tama. he cost per meal will be $2.30 per enrolled participant or personnel served lunch. The district agrees that all meals are to be prepared and delivered under sanitary conditions as outlined in the sanitation guidelines of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals or local health department. Meals will provide standardized recipes that include the yield, planned serving size and component contribution for mixed dishes, including but not limited to casseroles and salads, that provide more than one meal component. The District will also provide Child Nutrition labels or signed product specifications for commercial combination foods, including but not limited to meat products that are not 100 percent meat, fish sticks, chicken nuggets and pizza. The recipes and labels must be provided one time and whenever the menu items change.

approved the Iowa Valley Community College contracted services agreements A and B. They are with the Ellsworth/Marshalltown Community College Unit. Agreement A states the school district employs qualified instructors and has adequate facilities to instruct students and conduct classes in college courses for which college credit can be earned. The college is willing to aid in the implementation of such classes in an effort to provide greater educational opportunities to high school students in the Merged Area VI Community College District.

The school agrees to provide through the use of its own professional staff who will have been screened by the college, instruction in the college course listed in the current college catalog . Students who satisfactorily complete these courses will earn such number of college credit hours as are set forth on Appendix A. The program shall be made available to all eligible resident students in grades 9 through 12. To qualify for dual credit Arts and Science coursework, the student shall have either demonstrated proficiency (41st percentile) in all of the content areas of reading, mathematics, and science as evidenced by achievement scores on the most recent administration of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills or the Iowa Test of Educational Development for which scores are available for the student or met the school district board approved alternative assessment. In order to be offered each course must have an enrollment of at least ten students and provided, further, that if the enrollment is less than ten students and the School District still wishes to proceed with the course, the School District will reimburse the College for the difference between the tuition revenues paid to the College ($125.00 per credit per student for non-Internet coursework and $136.00 per credit per student for Internet coursework), following the College's cost of providing the program.

discussed the new Center Associates Mental Health Services which are replacing the Tama County Mental Health Clinic that has now been closed. Superintendent Nelson told the board there is a difference in billing and the services they provide and she is working with the new group to provide the service South Tama County students should need.



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