Background checks and the role of BOEE (November 2013 School Leader Update)
During last year’s legislative session, a new law was passed which closed the gap on the requirement for school district employees to have background checks. The newly passed Iowa Code section 279.69 requires that all school district employees have a background check conducted in compliance with various Iowa laws by July 1, 2014. This new law covers those school employees (part-time, substitutes, or other contract employees) who are not already covered by other statutes. Since the new law was passed, the Department has received several questions about who should be subject to background checks this year. The short answer is that school districts need to do background checks on all non-certified employees. The procedure for licensed teachers under Iowa Code section 279.13 and bus drivers under Iowa Code section 321.375 remains the same. Below are all of the relevant code sections that are applicable to background checks. School districts should maintain documentation to demonstrate that background checks have taken place.
Iowa Code § 272.2(17) – BOEE Licenses https://www.legis.iowa.gov/DOCS/ACO/IC/LINC/2013.Section.272.2.PDF
Iowa Code § 279.13(1)(b) - Applicants for a 279.13 Contract (Teaching) Position https://www.legis.iowa.gov/DOCS/ACO/IC/ LINC/2013.Section.279.13.PDF
Iowa Admin. Code r. 282 –- 20.3 – BOEE Renewals for all licenses https://www.legis.iowa.gov/DOCS/ACO/IAC/LINC/10-16-2013.Rule.282.20.3.pdf
Iowa Code § 321.375(2) - School Bus Drivers https://www.legis.iowa.gov/DOCS/ACO/IC/LINC/2013.Section.321.375.PDF
New! Iowa Code § 279.69 – All Remaining Applicants and School Employees https://www.educateiowa.gov/documents/laws-and-regulations/2013/11/27969-school-employees-background-investigations-0
BOEE’s Role Pursuant to Iowa Code section 272.2(17), the Board of Educational Examiners conducts a state background check, a national fingerprint background check, and a check of the sex offender and child and dependent adult abuse registries on all initial applicants for Iowa licensure. For renewals, the Board checks criminal history information available to the general public (Iowa Courts Online), as well as the three registries listed above. Certain forcible felonies and any criminal sexual offense involving a child will automatically disqualify a candidate for initial licensure or renewal. All other criminal convictions or founded abuse reports are evaluated using several factors set forth in the Board’s administrative rules, including the number of convictions or founded abuse reports, the time lapsed since the last conviction or founded abuse report, and any evidence of rehabilitation provided by the applicant.