Waterville Central School District, located in Oneida County, is conducting necessary background checks and fingerprinting of employees prior to allowing them to work with students, according to an audit released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“I commend school officials in Waterville for putting proper safeguards in place to protect their students,” said DiNapoli. “By following the law and not allowing new employees to work in schools until they receive proper background clearance, Waterville is setting an example for other districts.”
State education law requires that all prospective employees whom the district reasonably expects to provide services that involve direct contact with students must be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check. The law requires these background checks to be submitted to the State Education Department (SED), which then provides the school with certification clearing the individual for employment.
If a school fails to file the appropriate employee background checks and updated clearance requests with SED, the school may not be notified of an arrest, either prior or subsequent to the employee’s hire, which may compromise the safety of students.
Auditors reviewed records for 10 full-time employees and five sports officials in Waterville to determine if the district performed fingerprint-supported criminal background checks and received certification from SED clearing these individuals for employment or contracted services. It was determined that school district officials ensured these employees were properly cleared.
Furthermore, to ensure compliance with state law, the school board properly adopted a policy outlining the district’s requirements for fingerprint-supported background checks.
Waterville Central School District is located in the village of Waterville in Oneida County. The district serves students residing in the towns of Augusta, Kirkland, Marshall, Paris, Sangerfield and Vernon in Oneida County, and the towns of Brookfield and Madison in Madison County.
The final report can be found online at: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/schools/2016/waterville.htm
For access to state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit www.openbooknewyork.com. The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.